Dallas city council members have differing views on who should replace City Manager A.C. Gonzalez, just as they had differing opinions on his effectiveness.
Gonzalez announced Monday he will retire in January to allow a search for his replacement and an orderly transition.
After serving Dallas on-and-off in various positions since 1988, 64-year-old Gonzalez said he is ready to get his life back.
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In Dallas, the city manager is responsible for daily operations, including hiring and firing the police chief and other top officials. The mayor and city council hire the city manager.
Councilman Erik Wilson said he felt Gonzalez was making progress at City Hall reforms.
“I would like for it to have gone a little quicker, but those things take time in terms of educating individuals and getting them up to speed,” Wilson said.
Now, Wilson said a promotion from inside would keep progress going on growth for the southern Dallas district he represents.
“We’re looking for someone who understands managing a part of town that’s built out and a part of town that needs to be built out,” Wilson said.
Councilman Scott Griggs was a frequent Gonzalez critic.
“It's past time for a change at City Hall and I’m looking forward to this as an opportunity to bring in an outsider to bring some new energy and positive change at City Hall,” Griggs said. “The way the city of Dallas is being managed, isn’t working. Look at all the potholes. Look at all the issues with loose dogs.”
Councilman Lee Kleinman said Gonzalez sometimes worked too hard at pleasing everyone.
“That’s a position where you have to be a decision maker and make decisions not everybody’s going to be happy with,” Kleinman said.
Kleinman said he was not ready to push Gonzalez out and some other council members were unnecessarily critical.
“In my view, you have to nurture staff to be as successful as they can be, and then, if you have criticisms, you have to criticize properly. Folks on the council just didn’t recognize that need,” Kleinman said.
Critics and supporters of Gonzalez said they hope council members can unify around a new manager. Mayor Mike Rawlings said there will be a national search and current city staff members who apply for the job will not be excluded.